Super Pro or No?- Who Do You Want to Be?
Story Courtesy of Luke Estel / Strike King Pro
You cannot win a bass tournament unless you have at least a 20ft boat with a 250 hp motor on back.
You cannot win a tournament unless you have two power poles on the back of your boat.
You cannot win a tournament unless you have 4 12 inch touch screen units on your boat.
You cannot win a tournament unless you have a new truck that is jacked up with two rod storages on top of your camper shell.
You cannot win a tournament without a gps locking trolling motor.
You cannot win a tournament unless you have your own you tube channel. And so on and so on.
In today’s bass fishing tournament world, there are many anglers that believe this. This is especially true with the youth. It has become a status thing and the more stuff you have, the cooler you look, the better you are.
I myself have fallen into this fake reality from time to time.
I say this because our youth see how we veterans act and try to follow suit. I help coach a college fishing team and the first thing I tell them is time on the water means more than all that stuff. Practice at becoming a good angler first. Learn how to read water and make quick decisions when things aren’t working out. From there things will start to fall in place.
I started fishing big tournaments out of a 16ft tri hull Stryker bass boat with an 85 hp Mercury. I believe it was a 1974 model. It was ugly. There was no graph and it couldn’t run faster than 40 miles per hour. My cousin and I would drive down to Kentucky Lake in the spring to fish these big 300 to 400 boat tournaments. We would be intimidated because our boat was a piece of junk compared to everyone else’s. They had us beat before we even took off. But something happened not long after we started fishing down there. We started cashing checks. And a lot of them. From then on I realized that a person didn’t need the best equipment to do well.
25 years later and I still feel the same way. Granted I have upgraded into a better boat and better equipment but I try to let my ability do the talking instead of my physical appearance like I am some super pro fisherman.
The youth of our sport try to mimic the pros but tend to forget that good old fashioned hard work will prevail. They see all these fancy rigs and think if they don’t have that, they can’t compete. Although the fishing industry pushes new product on a daily basis with social media and never ending advertisements, little is said about hard work and just going fishing.
If you want to become a better tournament fisherman then all you have to do is fish and fish a lot. Spend time on the water. Practice casting, setting the hook, fighting the fish, learning new techniques. Worry less about what boat you are fishing out of, how many rods you have, and how cool you think you look because that will get you nowhere in this game. Trust me, you want to be the guy in that 74 Stryker that beat 300 of the best fishermen on the lake. You want those fishermen to start taking notice of your abilities and talking about how in the heck you caught them. Not how cool your truck is.
Us tournament veterans need to help our youth become better fishermen by teaching them how to fish and sharing our secrets, not trying to sell them a $3000 graph because if they don’t have it, they won’t do well.
As I get older I want to be known not as the best fishermen on the water but the guy that helps young anglers become better as fishermen.
I hope you all follow and mentor our youth the same.